MONTPELIER — The Housed passed a campaign finance reform bill Thursday on a bipartisan vote following a conference committee with Senate negotiators.
The legislation sailed through the House on a 124 to 15 roll call vote, but some members are disappointed in the final version of the legislation. The plan will raise some contribution limits.
House and Senate negotiators met out of session over the last several months after failing to reach agreement before the end of the 2013 legislative session. They signed off on a compromise plan Tuesday, the first day of the 2014 legislative session.
The agreement will allow individuals, corporations and PACs to contribute twice as much money — from $2,000 to $4,000 — directly to statewide candidates and PACs.
Meanwhile, political parties can now raise $10,000 directly from those same groups, up from $2,000, and up to $60,000 from their national parties.
Candidates for the Legislature will see a decrease in the contributions they can currently receive. Contributions to House candidates will capped at $1,000, while contributions to Senate candidates will be reduced to $1,500.
Political parties will be able to funnel unlimited amounts of money to candidates, however.
Independent and Progressive candidates said that provides an unfair advantage to Democrats and Republicans who can receive unlimited funding from their respective parties.
Some House members addressed the chamber to explain their votes, saying they voted in favor of the bill because it is time for the state to have limits in place.
Rep. Cynthia Browning, a Democrat from Arlington, said she voted against the bill because the contribution limits are too high and more disclosure should be required closer to elections. The bill is “not enough to even be called campaign finance reform,” she said.
The Senate will consider the compromise bill next week.